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Re‐imagining teachers’ work: photographs of Blackfriars School, Sydney, 1913‐1923 as representations of an educational alternative

Re‐imagining teachers’ work: photographs of Blackfriars School, Sydney, 1913‐1923 as... Visual representations of teachers and teachers’ work over the past century and a half, in both professional literature and popular media, commonly construct teachers’ work as teacher‐centred, and built around specific technologies that privilege the teacher as the active, dominant and legitimate principal agent in the educational process. This article analyses a set of photographs that represent an ‘alternative’ educational approach to normalised mainstream schooling, to explore the ways such practices might enact pedagogy within different social relations. Butler’s discussions of performativity and Foucault’s concept of technologies of self, offer a theoretical framework for understanding the educative and political work such visual representations of teachers work might perform, in the construction of capacities to imagine what teachers’ work looks like, with implications for capacities to enact teaching. The photographs analysed present a pedagogy in which the teacher is less visibly central and less overtly directive in relation to children’s learning than in normalised pedagogy. Thus, in important respects, they offer material from which to construct a different vision of what teachers’ work looks like, and, consequently, to enact teachers’ work differently. In this article I explore a set of photographs of Montessori methods at Blackfriars School in Sydney in the early twentieth century. I do so in order to establish whether such photographs offer a representation of teaching that differs significantly from conventional ‘normalised’ understandings of teachers’ work. This in turn is intended to inform one part of a transformative agenda to address problematic aspects of contemporary schooling. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Re‐imagining teachers’ work: photographs of Blackfriars School, Sydney, 1913‐1923 as representations of an educational alternative

History of Education Review , Volume 38 (2): 12 – Oct 14, 2009

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691200900015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Visual representations of teachers and teachers’ work over the past century and a half, in both professional literature and popular media, commonly construct teachers’ work as teacher‐centred, and built around specific technologies that privilege the teacher as the active, dominant and legitimate principal agent in the educational process. This article analyses a set of photographs that represent an ‘alternative’ educational approach to normalised mainstream schooling, to explore the ways such practices might enact pedagogy within different social relations. Butler’s discussions of performativity and Foucault’s concept of technologies of self, offer a theoretical framework for understanding the educative and political work such visual representations of teachers work might perform, in the construction of capacities to imagine what teachers’ work looks like, with implications for capacities to enact teaching. The photographs analysed present a pedagogy in which the teacher is less visibly central and less overtly directive in relation to children’s learning than in normalised pedagogy. Thus, in important respects, they offer material from which to construct a different vision of what teachers’ work looks like, and, consequently, to enact teachers’ work differently. In this article I explore a set of photographs of Montessori methods at Blackfriars School in Sydney in the early twentieth century. I do so in order to establish whether such photographs offer a representation of teaching that differs significantly from conventional ‘normalised’ understandings of teachers’ work. This in turn is intended to inform one part of a transformative agenda to address problematic aspects of contemporary schooling.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 14, 2009

Keywords: Pedagogy; Performativity; Self; Teaching

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